Finally! Back on track in week 11 and off to a great start so far in week 12 (3-0), highlighted by the Baltimore Ravens complete beatdown of the San Francisco 49ers. Even though neither of my "Upset Specials" came through last week, we are thrilled to stop the two week losing trend and are well on our way to a solid weekend of winning picks. Let's get right to it with a couple of games of interest to Ravens fans and the rest after the 'Jump:'
Bengals over Browns: Cleveland couldn't beat Cincinnati in Cleveland so they're not going to do it on the road, as the Bengals are a solid team with a mature rookie QB getting his excellent rookie WR back, which should be bad news for the over-matched and offensively-challenged Brownies.
Jets over Bills: That sound you hear is Buffalo "rumblings," as since they signed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a big money deal, they have plummeted down to earth. Even though New York has been average this year (5-5 record), the Bills might be just what the doctor ordered.
Falcons over Vikings: It doesn't look promising for Minnesota, with Adrian Peterson sidelined for the game and heading on the road to Atlanta, where the Falcons play real tough and are trying to make a run at the playoffs and perhaps even the AFC South title.
Panthers over Colts: Had Indianapolis not ignored me when I picked them to win their first game of the season twice this season, I might have considered them for an "Upset Special." "Fool me once,..." ain't gonna happen a third time, so I will say, "Go Cam Newton!" (Andrew Luck, hope you like sitting on the bench and learning form Peyton Manning. Hey, it certainly worked for Aaron Rodgers!)
Texans over Jaguars: While a Jacksonville win would be in the Ravens best interests, but even without QB Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart is a better QB than the Jags' Blaine Gabbert and while both defenses and RB's are good, Houston's is better and they will keep pace in the AFC,...for now.
Rams over Cardinals: Wow, what a tough game to not only pick a winner, but to stay awake while thinking about it. I've got to go with the home team, so it's St. Louis over Arizona without much of a thought about it and it's doubtful anyone outside of those two cities and perhaps including them, actually care.
Titans over Buccaneers: Tampa Bay has proved that they are just not a good road team (1-3) and believe it or not, Tennessee (5-5) might have a shot at the AFC South title even though they are two games behind the division-leading Houston Texans, who have lost their QB for the season.
Bears over Raiders: This game counts as my first "Upset Special Pick of the Week," even though Chicago is 7-3 and Oakland 6-4. The Bears are now without QB Jay Cutler but I like their opportunistic defense shutting down the Raiders running game while managing to put points on the board despite starting an unproven QB.
Seahawks over Redskins: Fueled by the confidence of their upset win over the Ravens, Seattle is on a two-game winning streak and should make it three in a row with a woeful Washington team coming to town without a QB, running game or wide receivers. The 'skins won't be able to win with just a FG kicker in the cold, wet northwest.
Eagles over Patriots: Yeah, I know I'm going as much with my heart as I am with my head but I like the intangibles that Philadelphia's Vince Young offers and the athleticism of their specialty players and are predicting the New England defense lays an egg as does the offense on the road, which might be a stretch. A guy can dream, eh?
Broncos over Chargers: Another "Upset Special Pick of the Week," as I really think San Diego is just a bad team on both sides of the ball, with QB Phil Rivers having an awful season that should remove his "elite QB" label for sure. Meanwhile, just like in college, despite all his flaws, all Denver QB Tim Tebow does is win, win, win, and I expect the Broncos to keep the AFC West very interesting through the end of the season
Steelers over Chiefs (Sunday Night Football): While I'd love to see Kansas City upset Pittsburgh for obvious reasons, I saw Chiefs QB Tyler Palko on Monday Night Football last week and he looked so bad I wondered how he forced Ravens QB Joe Flacco to transfer from the University of Pittsburgh to Delaware. He looks scared, scrawny and his throwing motion seems uncomfortable to even watch. The Steelers defense should feast on him like the Ravens did on the 49ers' Alex Smith on Thanksgiving.
Saints over Giants (Monday Night Football): New York lost to Philadelphia at home last week on prime time, so how can they go on the road to New Orleans and expect to win against an excellent offense led by one of the top three QB's in the NFL in Drew Brees. Stranger things have happened but this ain't gonna be one of them.
Last Week: 10-4
Season Record: 98-61